GENEVA: Thailand, which is set to host a UN summit on endangered species next month, along with several other countries should face sanctions for their role in the swelling illegal ivory trade, wildlife conservationists said today.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC called in a statement on the 177 governments set to attend the Bangkok meeting ‘to begin a formal procedure that would lead to strict trade restrictions against the worst offenders in the illicit ivory trade.’
Africa has seen a sharp rise in the illegal trade in wildlife products like ivory and rhino horn, with up to 30,000 African elephants poached for their ivory last year and a record 668 South African rhinos killed for their horns, the organisations said.
They pointed to Thailand, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as the worst culprits in the illicit ivory trade, while Vietnam was the main market and Mozambique was the ‘smuggling hub’ for rhino horn.
UN wildlife trade regulator CITES, which is organising the Bangkok meeting, should prepare to impose sanctions if these countries don’t do more to rectify the situation, they insisted.